On Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit Barefoot Beauty, a new nail destination and beauty bar in Toronto’s east end. It’s not just any nail salon though, it’s an environmentally-friendly, healthy salon with medical-grade sterilized tools. Emily Stock, a chiropodist by trade, opened the Barefoot Beauty doors in July 2017, as an answer to an alarming issue she often encountered in her practice: fungus. She noticed a lot of her patients were coming in with foot infections, warts and fungus overgrowth…and these issues all pointed to unsanitary nail salons where hygienic methods are not often practiced.
Barefoot Beauty only features nail polishes that are a minimum ‘5-free’, meaning they don’t contain formaldehyde, toluene or other toxins harmful to our health. Emily understands we can’t remove all toxins from our world but likes to make small, healthy decisions to decrease the risk of being exposed to harmful toxins. The scrubs, lotions and oils that are used in the salon are also natural and/or organic, and are created in-house. Barefoot Beauty also sells a variety of natural beauty goods, which are majority local or at least Canadian. A couple of Emily’s favourites are the Mabrook & Co deodorant, which she said actually works, and Double Happiness – a mindful skincare company.
When I walked into Barefoot Beauty, I immediately felt relaxed. Katie, the front desk manager, welcomed me and gave me a form to fill out to specify if I had any allergies or issues with my feet. I sat in the rose coloured, velvet love seat while I waited for my service and then Nicole, the aesthetician, greeted me and showed me to the wall of 5-free to 9-free nail colours. I opted for Zoya’s Sage Silk finish polish and then took a seat in my pedicure chair. The first thing I noticed was there weren’t any water basins in the salon. I’d never had a pedicure without soaking my feet first. Barefoot Beauty is a waterless salon, reason being because water is a huge breeding ground for fungus. Emily explained that most of the time, water basins at salons are not properly cleaned. She said there is always the option of using plastic bags to line the basins, but she opted for no water or bags, as a way to reduce waste. Instead, Barefoot Beauty wraps your feet in hot towels – and oh my goodness, it feels so nice!
While my feet were wrapped all cozy and warm, Nicole began inspecting my toes and started working on filing and clipping my nails – my toes were so happy! She then unwrapped my feet and scrubbed my dry, winter heels (it was so needed)! Then came the best part – the massage. I had the option of three different creams, I opted for the mint eucalyptus shea butter. Once the massage was over, the toes got painted. It was such a lovely service and I was so relaxed. The whole time I was in my chair, I couldn’t help but look around and notice all the beautiful décor surrounding me. From the exposed brick, to the sparkly, bamboo wallpaper, to the rose gold accents…everything was perfectly thought out.
I left my appointment feeling so relaxed and my feet were so happy. They weren’t over scrubbed, my cuticles weren’t over pushed and I didn’t have a headache from smelling harsh nail polish. It was an overall A+ experience, which I highly recommend. I already can’t wait to go back!